DJI Osmo Pocket Review: Finally A Genuine GoPro Alternative?

Last updated December 17th, 2019
DJI Osmo Pocket

Drone giant DJI has been outperforming every manufacturer in the drone market by a sizable margin due to their persistent production of competitive products. This is in both the consumer and enterprise drone spaces — not only in price, but specs and features as well.

The brand has seen success in this niche, but it didn’t stop them from branching out to new ones, albeit related to the drones they offer.

After seeing drones used for filmmaking on a huge scale, DJI have started to offer more videography-related products.

Just as DJI perfected its drone recipe, another important aspect of the craft was showered with attention — the optics. The brand has been known for packing their drones with the most compact and well-performing camera units, giving them extra street cred with their no-nonsense holistic approach.

In light of camera units, the DJI Osmo Pocket is an ultra-portable filming solution or action camera substitute that has a 3-axis stabilizing gimbal in tow. For those wanting to have a formidable filming tool on the go, this neat and feature-packed optical solution from DJI seems promising enough.

But forget ‘seems promising’ — we got hands on with the device to see if actually delivers. Find out our thoughts throughout this honest DJI Osmo Pocket review.

Quick Specs

Weight116 grams
SizeLength: 121.9 mm
Width: 36.9 mm
Height: 28.6 mm
BatteryOperating time: ~140 mins
Capacity: 875 mAh
RecordingCamera: 4K UHD, 80° FOV

You can find the latest price of the Osmo Pocket on the DJI store here.

DJI Osmo Pocket Features

First Person View (FPV) Mode

The DJI Osmo Pocket has an FPV mode that tilts the lens along with the camera, fully utilizing the mechanical gimbal’s liquid smooth motion.

This allows the unit to capture footage that emphasizes motion and action, perfect for situations where you are moving in multiple planes simultaneously, like on a rollercoaster, for example.

ActiveTrack

Much like DJI’s drones, the DJI Osmo Pocket also has an ActiveTrack mode. This allows the camera to lock onto a specific subject, automatically keeping it in focus and frame for the shot.

Selfie Mode also uses tracking, aptly called the Face Track feature that keeps you in the center of the shot efficiently.

3×3 Panorama

The DJI Osmo Pocket also allows you to take a wide shot of the scenery thanks to its 3×3 Panorama mode. Just activate the feature, and stay still as the gimbal automatically provides a panoramic coverage, while the camera stitches the image for an accurate reproduction of the scene.

Motionlapse

A timelapse functionality is present via the Motionlapse feature, allowing you to squeeze minutes and hours of footage into a sped-up scenario, capturing the breadth of the shot with a smooth panning motion, for a truly cinematic shot composition.

Nightshot

More than vividly-lit, bustling scenery under the light of day, the DJI Osmo Pocket also captures excellent photos and videos during nighttime or low-light conditions. It automatically adjusts the camera settings like ISO and aperture size for a better light reception. You can also tap into 3-second exposure shots in Pro mode, giving you a chance to do light painting.

Battery Life

The DJI Osmo Pocket has an 875 mAh battery capable of supplying up to 140 minutes of operating time, quite amazing considering the fact that the capacity is a bit on the low side, not to mention the processing power needed and having subsystems running in the background consuming extra energy. Take note that this advertised runtime only applies when you aren’t using gimbal functions or recording 4K footage, which can contribute to a faster reserve depletion than usual.

The DJI Osmo Pocket does get a bit warm in continuous use, and if you’re a bit of a temperature freak, use the camera/gimbal combo with healthy rest intervals, though we didn’t notice any performance hits with the temperature rise.

Charging the DJI Osmo Pocket will be about 75 minutes long, ideally, if you’re using a 10-watt brick. Not too bad considering the amount of filming juice you get with it. On top of that, you can even replenish it with a power bank.

The only sad thing about the DJI Osmo Pocket’s battery is that it is non-modular, meaning it can’t be replaced. There’s also some research to suggest that non-modular batteries don’t perform as well, though the battery of the Osmo Pocket seemed to be pretty good for the limited time that we used it.

Camera

The DJI Osmo Pocket doesn’t skimp out on the camera quality, as it sports a 4K HD capable unit, just like the ones on the drones the brand offers.

Its sizable 1/2.3 inch, 12-MP CMOS sensor supports video capture of up to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps, which is great for scenic shots that capture every detail, or 1080p mode that supports up to 120 fps, making slow-motion footage insanely detailed when rendered. Furthermore, 12-MP (4000 x 3000 pixel) photo captures are possible, giving you crystal clarity with every shot.

Microphone

Apart from the camera, another point to consider is the DJI Osmo Pocket’s microphone.

It can be inferred from the one-handed design that the unit is intended for vloggers and adventurers who want to add some spice to their footage with real, organic audio of the environment, as well as their own narration to supplement it. The microphone performs well enough to make the user’s voice clearly audible amidst ambient noise, though wind noise is another thing to consider before heading out.

Ease Of Use

The DJI Osmo Pocket throws out all the fuss out the window with straightforward controls, bearing only 2 buttons and a 1-inch touchscreen for other functions. The right button is the unit’s Power button, while the left is the trigger for capturing photos and videos. Any other function can be accessed through the touchscreen menu, like shooting modes or resolution options.

You can also attach your smartphone to the DJI Osmo Pocket via a socket adapter, giving you a much wider viewfinder and allowing you access to the DJI Mimo app, offering more features and functions, such as a real-time histogram and automatic color balance detection.

Attaching your smartphone to the DJI Osmo Pocket is a bit of an affair though, killing the simplicity of its design with a slightly awkward placement. There is a workaround for this though — a Bluetooth module that connects the two devices wirelessly, which seems functional enough, although latency is another issue you have to face with this.

The DJI Mimo app opens a plethora of features and makes your smartphone a viable operating platform rather than forcing yourself on that 1-inch screen. Furthermore, it gives you an editing suite at your fingertips, allowing you to tweak your shots and post-process them to your desired aesthetic.

Design and Build Quality

The DJI Osmo Pocket is primarily designed for convenience and portability, with its mini-granola bar footprint totally graspable with your hand, weighing an extremely lightweight 116 grams. You won’t have to worry about extended periods of filming.

It is wrapped in a non-slip, matte grip for maximum traction during operation, and even comes with a form-fitting case, though it’s only really good for anti-scratch purposes.

No amount of shielding the DJI Osmo Pocket can save it from drops, though. While solidly built, the design doesn’t incorporate shock-proof features, endangering the delicate motors that operate the gimbal even further.

The GoPro trumps this unit any day in terms of ruggedness, but that’s not really the main point that the Osmo Pocket wants to make.

Performance

With the DJI Osmo Pocket, we really don’t have any qualms with its 3-axis stabilization features. Videos were very stable even when taken at a moderate stride, which would probably ruin framing with lesser-equipped or electronically-stabilized units. It even works well with the automated shot presets, automatically panning whenever needed, even smoothly tracking its subject with ActiveTrack.

Let’s recall the DJI Osmo Pocket’s straightforward controls, which might be too straightforward considering all you have to work with is 2 buttons and that screen for ants. Well, DJI has a scroll wheel accessory that attaches to the adapter port, giving you tactile control over the features, rather than having to thumb down the screen.

Final Thoughts

DJI has outdone itself again. From commercial drones to consumer camera technology, the Chinese giant doesn’t even leave scraps to the dogs. They’ve already chased GoPro drones out of the industry and now they’re coming after ‘wearable’ cameras too.

The Osmo Pocket is a testament to their research and development division, taking cues from their drone camera’s features, and incorporating it into a handheld design that appeals not only to vloggers and content creators, but those wanting to get their hands on leisure gadgets.

It’s amazing how the DJI Osmo Pocket managed to cram all these features in a bite-sized package, giving you 4K filming capabilities, without skimping out on the ever-so-precious and coveted stabilization.

These two determining factors alone are attractive enough to draw in avid cinematography fans.

Not only have they achieved all of the above, but they’ve managed to release this palm-sized, lightweight camera at a pretty affordable price, making it a real GoPro alternative for those that are looking to film on the go.

Check the latest price of the Osmo here.

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